I always dreamed of having a completely location-independent lifestyle. Sitting in my cubicle in Washington DC, I’d dream of working on my laptop while sitting under a cabana drinking from a coconut. When I finally decided to look into it, I realized that there are a TON of online jobs that I could do, if I’d just put some time into figuring out how.
When I put in my two weeks notice and quit my job, I felt like I could immediately start working online to build the location independent life I always dreamed of. My research on online careers, side hustles, and jobs gave me confidence that there’s a remote job out there for me, and that I could make a living being my own boss and doing something that I love.
Instead of doing surveys and getting rebates for spending money, I decided to focus on things that I could do to make significant income online. I wanted my work to funnel into a rewarding career, NOT a life of scraping pennies online for hours each day.
I want you to have the opportunity to take control over your life, too. That’s why I wrote this post about different ways you can make an income online. Using these online jobs, you can work while traveling anywhere in the world, whether that’s in your parents’ basement or in a mountain cabin with a view.
17 Practical Online Jobs to Make Money from Home
I have a simultaneously beautiful and torrid relationship with blogging. On one hand, it’s a super accessible business for anyone interested in online entrepreneurship. But on the other hand…it’s not as easy to make an income as many bloggers will have you believe.
I know there are a million and a half people out there who tout blogging as this “get rich quick scheme.” I’m not here to tell you the same. Between this blog and my travel blog, I’ve spent countless hours writing, editing, photographing, networking, etc…TOTALLY unpaid. If you want to blog, you have to hustle, otherwise your site will probably end up in the blog graveyard like the millions of other blogs gone astray (including a few of my own).
However, there are a LOT of merits to blogging, if you can figure out what works best for you and your brand. You have the potential to make a lot of money (some bloggers top six figures…EVERY MONTH!), but at the very least, you can supplement other income with your blog while writing about topics you enjoy and care about. This is why I still recommend that anyone who is interested in starting a blog should GO FOR IT!
If you’re interested in starting a blog, you can grab a domain name from GoDaddy and a hosting package from my very favorite host, SiteGround, starting at just $3.95 per month. I use SiteGround for all 4 of my websites and I’m totally blown away by their fast and reliable customer service, every single time I frantically contact them. After that, head over to my post on the simple steps to building a money making blog so you can learn how to get started!
2. Affiliate Marketing
In the online entrepreneurship world, affiliate marketing is often discussed as a way to make money blogging – and it’s true. Affiliate marketing is one of the number one ways to generate income from a blog.
However, you can also use affiliate marketing as a separate income stream, too. Using social media platforms, email lists, and more, you can make an income from affiliate marketing without putting much time or effort into a blog at all. If you have an audience somewhere who trusts your opinion and believes in your recommendations, you have the opportunity to use affiliate marketing to your advantage.
If you’re interested in learning the ropes of affiliate marketing, there’s no course I recommend more than Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing. Michelle makes over $100,000 off her blog, Making Sense of Cents, each MONTH, a huge portion of which comes from affiliate marketing. She’s one of the Internet’s experts on using affiliate marketing to generate an income.
While I’m busy drooling over here about how much opportunity my affiliate earnings have, you can go ahead and sign up for the course to learn more about how to make money from affiliates.
3. Freelance Writing
If you enjoy writing and have a way with words, freelance writing could be a fantastic online job for you. I’ve heard of many freelance writers making six figures! You’ll be able to write for business clients in a variety of industries, including finance, tech, home, lifestyle, travel, and more. One of the best things about freelance writing is that you can write from anywhere in the world, on your own time.
While I’m just dipping my toes into the freelance writing world, I can already definitively say that it is a super rewarding and fun way to make money online if you enjoy writing and researching.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the learning curve, however. Often, it can be difficult to break into freelance writing because of the seemingly huge competition. However, fellow blogger Elna from TwinsMommy has a wonderful course, Write Your Way to Your First $1K, that will help YOU get started with freelance writing.
I’m taking her course right now and it’s full of super valuable information on how to pitch clients and make an income from writing. She would know – she makes a full-time income writing while raising TWINS!
If you’d rather not write things from scratch, and instead prefer to proofread and edit other peoples’ work, you can work online as a proofreader. This is a great part-time OR full-time gig for detail oriented folks who enjoy nit picking and helping others improve their writing. Like writing, you can proofread in your own space, on your own time. Yep, that includes while sitting on a beach paradise or in a beautiful mountain cabin.
There are a lot of free resources out there on proofreading as a career, but one of the best for beginners is by Caitlin Pyle, a professional proofreader. She’s got a bunch of resources as well as a free workshop on her website, Proofread Anywhere. Once you’ve gone through the free materials, she has some additional courses and resources to continue your learning and break into the world of online proofreading.
There is no better way to make money than by selling your own products. You have full control over your own sales, your own customers, and your own brand. Additionally, you can work 100% on hours and deadlines that YOU set for yourself, and you don’t have to wait around for instructions from a boss.
Your business is your own. You don’t have to pitch anyone (except your customers), you don’t have to deal with communication barriers, and you don’t have to worry about waiting around for feedback or emails. If you have a great product idea that you think solves a problem for your potential customers, you can start an eCommerce store to sell it.
And yes, you’ll make 100% of the profits from your sales as income.
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6. Graphic Design
Graphic designers have the coolest job. They get to take ideas, values, and brands and turn them into visual representations, like logos and infographics. Additionally, they have an increasingly important job to do in our digital, visual media world today. If you’ve got an eye for beautiful design, you can work online (and remotely!) as a graphic designer!
You’ll need to learn some fundamentals of colors and designs, and also how to use important tools like the Adobe Creative Suite. However, once you’ve gotten a handle on those things, you can start working as a designer online. Future graphic designers can find a list of FREE resources and online courses here.
7. Web Development/Programming
If you prefer back-end development and coding more than front-end design, you can work as a freelance or remote web developer. A LOT of digital nomads with the relevant skills work in this field – it simply requires a strong Internet connection and a good computer. However, you also need to learn about web development and coding languages – no easy feat for someone without experience.
However, if you’re interested in entering this field but don’t have the prior knowledge, not all is lost! There are TONS of fantastic online resources to help you learn the skills you need to get started. Treehouse is a great place to begin your programming journey – they have tons of coding courses that are suitable for beginners.
8. Virtual Assisting
If you’re a go-getter who can manage multiple tasks and tough deadlines all at once, virtual assisting might be a great fit for you. Virtual assistants can complete a wide variety of tasks, from email generation and content creation to social media management and public relations. Currently, I make the majority of my remote income from virtual assisting, and I love that it gives me a platform to work on and learn about different aspects of an online business.
I’ve sourced most of my virtual assistant connections through my own personal networks, without taking a course. However, if you’d like to specialize your services or you’re having trouble finding clients, you can try the following:
- Entering relevant Facebook groups for bloggers – Often virtual assisting opportunities will pop up in these groups, but you’ll have to keep an eye on them frequently!
- Proactively pitching websites that might need your services – This takes a lot of research to figure out some value-added ideas for website owners, but it makes for very tailored pitches.
9. Social Media Management
In the same vein as virtual assisting, you can offer services for online entrepreneurs or businesses to help manage and grow their social media presence. Social media is a way to get both organic and paid marketing, so if you know about methods to use for both organic and paid reach, you’ll be extra successful in this field.
Typically, it’s good to be able to show a few instances where you grew a social media account or social media traffic quickly and effectively. However, it’s not 100% necessary. If you know someone who could use this service personally, try pitching them first to see if you can get hands-on experience.
10. Advertising and Marketing Management
If your marketing expertise spans past social media, and you’re willing to tap into search engine and display advertising as well, you may be able to work to help companies manage their advertising budgets. In this role, you will advise companies on the best uses of their marketing spend, including: social media, video, display, and search engine ads.
This typically requires a numbers and data-oriented approach, so if you like doing math and calculating ROI, this is a great opportunity for you.
11. Search Engine Optimization
For tech-minded people who enjoy testing and iterating, search engine optimization (SEO) consulting is one of the best online jobs to make money from home. In this job, you’ll help companies optimize their content and websites to be found on search engines like Google.
This line of work requires some prior knowledge about SEO. However, the good news is that there are all kinds of free resources online to help you learn the ins and outs of SEO. If you’re interested in learning more, I recommend Moz and Backlinko as two authority sites on search engine optimization.
12. Sales & Customer Service
Every company needs to do one thing in order to stay afloat: make sales. As a sales or customer service representative, you’ll help them do just that. With superb communication skills, an upbeat attitude, and a keen eye for the customer, you can become a successful sales person for just about any company, even if you don’t have any experience in that industry.
Many companies allow sales people to work remotely, as long as they have access to a phone and computer to take calls, answer emails, and participate in online chats. If you’re looking for remote customer service or sales jobs, you can look on a job website like Indeed for “Remote” + “Customer Service” or “Sales” and see what comes up.
13. Data Entry/Analysis
Much like sales and customer service, Data Entry is another area that businesses like to outsource to remote workers. Data entry basically means taking data from a specific source and entering it into a database or format that the company can use to draw insights. In the process, you’ll likely need to clean the data up and make other tweaks like tagging to make it useful for the business.
You can find data entry positions for a variety of companies all over the US (and the world), where you can work remotely for an hourly or salaried rate. A knowledge of Excel and other Microsoft Office products often helps.
14. Teaching & Tutoring
Parents and students all over the world are in need of tutors, and there’s a lot of demand for education professionals who can distill topics into easy-to-understand lessons. You can tutor in a variety of topics, but the most in-demand are English, math, science, and other foreign languages.
If you have some prior experience in the education industry, you can look for tutoring companies that offer online-only services.
15. Drop Shipping
You can make a pretty good living online selling things. If you don’t have your own products to manufacture or sell, you can try drop shipping instead. Basically, drop shipping means that you can sell items that exist elsewhere and just ship directly from the supplier to the customer. It’s basically a direct to consumer way to distribute products, besides going through the normal channels. This is great because you don’t need to keep inventory of the products you’re selling – you just need to find your customers!
If you’re interested in dropshipping, Shopify (a big eCommerce provider) has a course on how to get started.
One of my friends is really good at finding treasure and reselling it online. I had no idea this was an income option until he told me he sometimes makes HUNDREDS of dollars PER ITEM reselling antiques and other items. Basically, what he does is goes to garage sales, estate sales, and flash sales. Then, he picks up some items that seem trendy or well-maintained, cleans and repairs them, then sells them on eBay.
For people who enjoy tinkering around with beautiful housewares, this is a great gig to make a good amount of income online!
17. Video Editing
Now that video is on the forefront, video editing is becoming a more and more popular career path. Many large bloggers, YouTubers, and companies outsource parts of their video production processes to help streamline publication.
If you’re good with video and know how to use editing programs like Adobe Premiere, this could be a great gig for you to do from wherever, whenever. There are a bunch of great video editing courses on Udemy or Skillshare that you can use to learn the fundamentals of video editing.
How Not to Make Money Online
Guys, I know I don’t have to say this but every so often I’ll see a post about making money online on Pinterest or Facebook and I have to shake my head. Here are a couple of online scams that will try and get you to work for them – avoid these at all costs!
- Multi-level marketing schemes: If you join a “company” whose goal is solely to recruit other people to pay for a “starter kit” and then recruit more people, this is a multi-level marketing scheme.
- Pay to play scams: You should never have to pay for a job. Don’t fall for anything that requires you to pay to work.
- Online scams: Just don’t do it.
On the same vein, you should NOT try to rip people off for money online. I REPEAT: DO NOT rip people off for a living!! It’s terrible and you’re not doing the remote work/work from home community any favors. Instead of doing these things, provide REAL value to your clients and customers instead.
There are also ways to make money online that seem really easy and great, but they pay peanuts for your time and don’t have much benefit in terms of professional development or career building. You can absolutely make money using these methods, but I wouldn’t recommend it as a way to make a substantial income.
- Survey sites
- Rebate sites
- Video watching sites
Remember that your time is valuable, and you want to spend it making as much money as possible. By investing in your career and in skilled work online, you can set yourself up to reach your earning potential and beyond.
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